Depression is like being stuck in a deep, dark dungeon. The walls are dull and there are no windows. You feel suffocated and disturbed all the time. Your head feels empty and you feel lifeless: like all your abilities and energy have been sucked away by a black hole.
The worst part is, no one seems to understand the mental pain you are going through. People label you and call you lazy, moody and selfish.
I’ve been through severe clinical depression and would not wish that mental agony for anyone. But despite the pain, Allah taught me many precious lessons through my depression. This illness has shaped me into the person I am today and I do not regret having this disorder.
When I was actually having depressive episodes, I wished someone would teach me how to manage this deathly affliction. But that never happened. That’s when I learned the valuable lesson that when you can’t find a shady tree, plant one.
Turning to Allah and being a compliant, educated patient, which we discussed in detail in Part 1 and Part 2, are mostly concerned with the individual’s inner state and attitude toward their disease. However, human beings remain social creatures who need other people in their life to share their joys and sorrows with. As our role model, Prophet Muhammad was accompanied by his best friend Abu-Bakr on the hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah), while the Mother of the Believers Sayyida Khadijah comforted her husband when he returned home in shock after his first encounter with Archangel Jibril (Gabriel) .
Likewise, a sick person in particular needs a support system to cope better with their situation and receive both moral and physical support. This support system consists of family, friends, the medical team, and sometimes even strangers who have had a similar experience. All of the aforementioned categories of people have helped me greatly throughout the years in many different ways—from hugs, personal assistance, and hospital visits, to lengthy conversations and invaluable words of advice and encouragement. In the third and final part of this series, I will focus on some tools related to social interactions. Continue reading
Part 1 of this series covered medical-related advice that is meant to equip patients with the knowledge they need to manage their disease effectively as well as improve their quality of life and maintain good health.
In Part 2, I move on to the spiritual tools, which every Productive Muslim cannot do without during any trial, including severe or sudden illness. Know that in spite of advances in modern medicine, the outcome of any treatment, progression of any disease, and how our entire body functions, lies within Allah’s dominion, not science or a world-renowned surgeon. He is whom we turn to in times of need and supplicate with a sincere heart, expecting good. Continue reading
Two years ago in Ramadan, my kidneys shut down. Over the following six months, I underwent dialysis in the form of three weekly 4-hour sessions. A few days after Mubarak stepped down, I was being prepped for a life-changing event: a kidney transplant.
Not to delve into my medical background, over the years I’ve tried to befriend a chronic illness for the sake of leading a normal life, enduring hospital stays, and undergoing painful medical procedures. On this journey, I faltered and got away with noncompliance, taking Allah’s blessings for granted. After 11 years of more downs than ups, I finally got it. Yes, the damage was done, but then it was all set in stone even before I was born. Continue reading